Massachusetts Court Discusses Claims Against Public Employees

While people can normally be held accountable for inflicting bodily harm upon others, when the individual who caused the injury works for a public employer, such as a city, obtaining damages might be challenging. In particular, the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act (MTCA) shields public businesses from responsibility in a variety of circumstances and imposes stringent notification requirements on potential plaintiffs. In a recent Massachusetts ruling handed down in a case involving injuries sustained during an arrest, a court considered what constitutes sufficient notice of a potential tort claim under the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act. If you have been harmed as a result of another’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation and should contact a Massachusetts personal injury attorney immediately.

The Plaintiff’s Injuries

The plaintiff was reportedly traveling home from work when he was stopped by a police officer hired by the defendant city. He was stopped on the basis of an anonymous tip that he was carrying a pistol. The officer dragged the plaintiff from his vehicle, pushed him to the ground, and stepped on his neck, collarbone, and shoulder, fracturing them. The plaintiff was released after police failed to locate a gun in his vehicle.

The plaintiff allegedly filed a complaint against the defendant alleging a variety of grounds, including negligence under the MTCA. The defendant moved to dismiss, claiming that the plaintiff failed to furnish the appropriate notice under the MTCA. After reconsideration, the court found in favor of the plaintiff.

Requirements for Seeking Claims Under the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act

Under the MTCA, a public employer is liable for bodily harm caused by a public employee’s improper or negligent act while performing his or her job. However, the MTCA states that no litigation against a public employer may be filed unless the plaintiff first sends a written presentation of the claim to the public employer’s executive officer. The notice must be sent within two years of the date of the alleged harm, and the executive officer must deny the claim in writing; nevertheless, failing to refute the claim within six months will be regarded a denial.

In the subject case, the plaintiff’s attorney wrote to the defendant in August 2018, roughly eight months after the occurrence, outlining the facts of the incident and requesting an amicable resolution. Despite the defendant’s objections, the court determined that the letter provided adequate notice of the plaintiff’s claim. As a result, the defendant’s petition for summary judgment was denied.

Consult a Capable Attorney in Massachusetts

While public employers can be held accountable for the harm they impose on innocent individuals, stringent criteria must be met before an injured party can pursue claims against them. If you have been harmed as a result of another party’s negligence, Attorney John S. Moffa of the Law Offices of John S. Moffa, can inform you of your rights and assist you in pursuing the maximum amount of damages allowed by law. You can reach Mr. Moffa via the online form or by calling 508-362-5554 to set up a meeting.


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